Yakima Valley College honors Dan Peters with Sherrie & Daryl Parker Faculty Award
Yakima Valley College is excited to announce the selection of English Instructor Dan Peters as the 2021 recipient of the Sherrie & Daryl Parker Faculty Award. The award provides recognition to a full-time faculty member who, through extraordinary interactions and personal influence, motivates students toward greater academic and personal achievement. The selection is made by a committee from nominations submitted by students.
Dan Peters grew up in Selah, Wash., and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Willamette University and a master’s in literature from the University of Montana before returning to the Yakima Valley.
“I came back to the Yakima Valley after college to be close to my family and to teach in the same area as my friends, who were English and art teachers in the public schools. They made me feel like I belonged here,” stated Peters.
Poetry and literature have been a theme of inspiration throughout Peters’ life. In 1995 he started teaching part-time in YVC’s English department before transitioning to full-time teaching in 2001.
“When I was in high school and college, I had incredible teachers who believed in my writing,” Peters said. “I may have had the best literature teachers anyone has ever had. I wanted to give that gift back to other students.”
Currently he teaches English 90, 95, 101 and 102 as well as Creative Writing, Intro to Shakespeare, and American Literature from 1945-present, among others.
Peters loves helping students explore ideas and themselves through writing.
“The process of writing is so human. When a student really begins to examine their world and themselves on the page, it is a powerful thing to witness. I hope I’ve been able to help them explore new ideas, or explain old ones, in ways they can claim as their own,” continued Peters.
Carlie Adams shared how Peters helped her return to school as a non-traditional student nearly 10 years after leaving high school.
“Mr. Peters provides excellent feedback and emails students to remind them of the things that are due,” Adams said. “If you have questions, he is there 100% to help and makes it simple for the student to understand. He is using topics that are current with the world.”
Student Keara Willet also noted the impact that Peters has made on her education.
“I have never had a better experience with a college instructor than I did with [Peters],” she stated. “I took two of his classes, one as an elective, just because I wasn’t ready to let him go. He showed that he really cares about his students’ success by helping them with whatever they need help with. He’s patient and understanding and more than willing to provide advice and tips.
“While instructing, he went above and beyond to appeal to the learning style of each student. Not only that, but he made it interesting and relatable to real life.”
In addition to teaching, Peters works as a book publisher for Blue Begonia Press, a small publishing company he inherited from long-time friend Jim Bodeen. Peters also serves on the Selah School District Board of Directors.
“I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am without the people I’ve taught with. The English department at YVC has pushed and supported each other for the 20 years I’ve been here. They are an incredible group of educators and their commitment to their jobs and our students is a daily inspiration to me,” he concluded.
Established by longtime supporters of the college, Sherrie and Daryl Parker, this is a $2,500 unrestricted monetary award.